NFL Draft Analysis: Cornerback Korel Smith has the size and athleticism to gain the attention of NFL teams

Smith played 49 games while at FAU and was a part of the C-USA Championship teams in 2017 and 2019.


Eston Parker III

University Press sotck photo of cornerback Korel Smith.

Matthew Aguilar-Lizzi, Staff Writer

Korel Smith is among the list of prospects to be selected for the 2022 NFL draft. The five-foot-10, 174-pound cornerback played 49 games for FAU from his freshman year in 2017 to his senior year in 2021.

Smith had a solid career with the Owls, totaling 111 tackles, five sacks, four interceptions, and 13 defended passes. His highlight season came from his senior year, where he made 46 tackles, six deflected passes, two sacks and one forced fumble in 12 games.

He attended Miramar High School from 2012-16 and earned the defensive back MVP honors at the NFCT opening regionals. He was also listed as one of the best 50 players in South Florida for 2016 and was rated a three-star recruit, according to 247sports.

Here are the strengths and weaknesses of Smith and what he can bring to an NFL roster.


Throughout his years playing for the Owls, Smith got a good amount of game time and performed consistently throughout the seasons. 

Smith can get into position quickly to make tackles and put himself behind the opposing wide receivers, being a crucial key for the team and for a player in his position. 

Considering his size and athleticism, Smith makes a great cornerback with the sole purpose of having the speed and strength to beat off attacking wide receivers, especially having good zone coverage skills and the ability to get wide and deep into zone.


Despite possessing some great key attributes to make a brilliant NFL player, sometimes his speed and explosiveness is not enough to keep up with some of the best. 

Even though Smith has made over 100 tackles in less than 50 games, he does tend to lose his man at times off the ball. His time on the 40-yard dash was 4.68 seconds, but in situations where every millisecond counts, Smith isn’t quick enough. 

With the fastest 40-yard dash time being 4.34 seconds by free agent and former Florida State cornerback Levonta Taylor, Smith would need to further improve his speed.

Draft Projection

Smith has a good chance of being picked by a team like the Buffalo Bills. He could be a replacement for current Bills’ right-cornerback Siran Neal. 

In the 2021 season, Neal played 17 games and totaled 23 tackles with a forced fumble. Smith had double the amount of tackles and sacks, along with three interceptions and nine defended passes. Smith would be an important factor for a Bills side that is in need of a better cornerback.

Matthew Aguilar-Lizzi is a staff writer at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @mattaguilarUP.